Ray Forrest obituary

Other lives: urban studies professor with a global reputation for his research on east Asian housing

My brother-in-law Ray Forrest, who has died aged 68 of a heart attack, was an academic with a global reputation for his work on housing.

Ray was born in Edinburgh to Scott Forrest, a hotel manager, and his wife, Violet (nee Peacock). After schooling at Daniel Stewart’s college in Edinburgh he gained a business studies diploma at Heriot-Watt University (1969-71) then did a master’s in urban and regional studies at the University of Birmingham (1972-74).

He stayed on as a researcher at Birmingham before moving to the University of Bristol in 1981, where he set up several influential research projects and authored a series of publications on urban housing. He took a PhD in urban studies at the University of Bristol (1985-88) and was made a professor at the university’s school for advanced urban studies in 1994. Seven years later he was appointed head of the school for policy studies.

Ray developed pioneering research interests in east Asian housing and went on to found and co-direct the university’s centre for east Asian studies, 2004-08. After leaving Bristol in 2012, he became a professor of housing and urban studies and head of the department of public policy at the City University of Hong Kong. In 2017 he moved to Lingnan University, also in Hong Kong, to lead its research department on cities and social change.

Ray had a lust for exploring remote parts of east Asia, often on a motorbike with his wife, Jacqui (nee Perry), whom he married in 1988 after they had met in Birmingham.

He was a hugely energetic, kind and genial man who combined a jet-setting academic life with a loyal commitment to family and friends. I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t in a hurry – to complete more work projects, to do more challenging exercise or to cook up some feast. Our family nicknamed him “Super-Ray”.

He is survived by Jacqui and his children, Hana and Robert.

Gill Perry

The GuardianTramp

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